Saturday, October 27, 2007

Oops...forgot something

Someone kindly reminded me that I had not yet shared about the American Idol auditions. As you may have guessed, if they had gone well, I wouldn't have needed reminding! Here are some pictures of the audition area and all of the other people who were with me.

This is the parking lot that we all lined up in. The day that we picked up wristbands, this lot was filled, emptied and filled up again 3 times!!

These are some pics of the first day we were there...picking up wristbands. Basically, wristband pickup starts on Saturday morning. These pictures were taken at about 6:00 am. You can see the humidity in the air...yuck. We waited in the parking lot until about noon. By the time we started moving, the whole process went pretty quick. I was out of there with a wristband by about 1:00.

Wristband pickup lasted through Sunday and auditions began Monday morning.

People started lining up for auditions as early as Sunday night...regardless of the fact that camping out was not allowed. I got there at about 5:30 am and by 9:00 I was in the doors.

Here are two pictures of my company on audition day. There were over 20,000 people...WOW! We filled the Wachovia Center, home of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Yep...there's Ryan Seacrest. Even though I didn't make it past this first day, chances are pretty good that you'll catch a glimpse of me during the opening sequence of the season. Philadelphia is the first audition city to be on the air, so keep an eye out (about four rows off the floor) during the opening scene, and look closely when you hear "I Love Rock'n'Roll". Ryan came in to shoot the opening know, the famous " American IDOL...," and hung out for about 30 minutes.

Then it was time for the auditions.

There were 17 of these audition tables spread across the floor of the arena. Each table had 1-2 judges at it, and group of fours auditioned at a time. If you look closely you can see some of the freaks that came out...

Auditions started at about 11:00 at I got out of there around 5:00. So, how did my audition go?

Well, after hearing some of the people they turned away, and seeing some of the people they put through, I was completely prepared to go home with the reasoning "not what we're looking for." HOWEVER, I was not prepared to go home because I had royally flopped my audition. I sang "Broken Wing," by Martina McBride, and started out great. The judge actually gave me this, "now this is refreshing," look. However as soon as I sang the first note, I could tell I was too high and that I wasn't going to pull it off. Sure enough, when I came to the chorus, I was cornered by my own mistake. I was SO frustrated. So, since I can only blame myself...I'm going back next year!

Michael also auditioned, and I honestly don't know how he did. All he has told me is that he thinks the whole process was a joke and that he was incredibly turned off. We haven't really discussed his actual audition. Needless to say, he didn't make it either. You can watch for him in San Diego...singing "California Dreamin'."

So, no American Idol this year, but like I said...I have to be turned down after a good audition in order for me to be satisfied, so I'm heading back next year. Let me know if you want to be part of my entourage! Actually, each person can only bring one we should get a group of people together to audition so that we can show up with a real entourage. OK...there you go. Now I think we're really caught up!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hello hello!

Here I am again and I'm ready to do some more filling in on the happenings of Kristin! So I think I owe you info on the progress of the reunion, work and whatever else you're in the mood to read about.

As far as the reunion goes, planning has taken off and I think we have a GREAT event to look forward to. Two of my classmates have really jumped on board to help, and they are both in Los Alamos still, so that's INCREDIBLY helpful. We have a great weekend planned, but we're kinda holding off on the announcing of everything to add a bit of fanfare to the itinerary. We also have some really neat ideas for stuff that we are going to present throughout the weekend. I'm excited to see everything come together! If you know any '98 graduates, tell them it should be an event to remember and definitely not one to miss!, thought I was out of here near the end of the summer, but once we started getting busy again, I realized that I just need to stay busy to stay happy! Now, busy is a definite understatement and I barely have time to breathe, let alone pick apart the reasons that I'm not totally content. Really, I take comfort in the knowledge that I have put my life and soul into this place over the past 4 years, and in 7 short months that will end. I have been denied opportunities to advance, and that has hurt every time. BUT, I have truly enjoyed my time here, and the growth that I have made as an individual is incredible, so I can only be grateful. It will be hard to leave, but I can't wait to begin my new adventure of teaching!! That is the career that I want to put my life and soul into.

So...what's coming up for me? Some fun stuff!

First of all, for all you Garth Brooks fans out there, I ALMOST won a trip to his sold out concert in Kansas City. I was one of 8 qualifiers, but someone else took it. I did however walk away with a reserved copy of his 6 CD set coming out in November and $100. Can't complain!

School project: I am in the process of creating a documentary for a class. It is a lot of hard work, but the subject is one that is really of national relevance. I feel that this documentary could ideally be used nation wide to assist athletic and activity programs fight for survival and hopefully funding. The platform is

“Those students who participate in interscholastic activities are surpassing those who don't when it comes to test scores and GPA. Due to budget adjustments meant to allow for more testing materials and resources at schools that are not meeting AYP, these schools are losing their activity and athletic programs at an alarming rate. As a result, the students who most need these motivators to do well in school, no longer have the opportunity to participate in these activities."

If we gather the data that we expect to throughout this process, I truly feel that we have a good chance at making this national!

November: I am going to be going on a Carribean cruise to Progreso, Merida, and Cazumel the first week of November, and I can't wait! I've done an Alaskan cruise, and it was incredible. I am really excited to "hit the beaches" though!

Thanksgiving at my place! In case I haven't told you, I have become quite the lover of culinary arts...and I'm pretty darn good at it if I may say so. Last year I was lucky enough to have a successful Pampered Chef party that yielded quite a bit of free stuff for me. It also meant that I was given 50% of their professional pan set. My parents and I split the cost as a Christmas gift to me, and I have never had so much fun! I was also lucky enough to get a new stove in May, and I was insistent that my connection be switched from electric to gas. LIFE IS GOOD! Turns out there was a gas line back there all along, it just needed to be turned on. ANYWAY, I am hosting Thanksgiving at my place and I'm excited to have an opportunity to pull out the full size dining room table and my good china. So, if anyone is without a place for Thanksgiving, let me know and you aren't anymore!

December: Besides my 2 week Christmas break (woo hoo), my parents have decided to host Iron Cheff Derr at their house! Michael and I have both enjoyed experimenting with and learning about new and interesting culinary techniques, as well as the marriages of flavors. On December 22nd he and I will be fighting it out Iron Chef style. If you are going to be in town, we are in need of 2 more judges...let me know! We are going to put the whole thing on tape and see if we can be featured on the "How Do You Iron Chef" spot on the Food Network. Should be fun!

My mom and I are looking into travel possibilities to get us to California to assist some of the fire victims over break. After experiencing the Cerro Grande and the resulting devestation, we can truly empathize with these communities. Even more importantly, one of the most memorable aspects of that tragedy was the assistance that came from all over the world - literally. I feel that this is an opportunity to show our appreciation by doing the same for another group of survivors.

OK, I think I have truly caught you up on the saga. Hope you are all doing well, and I really am going to try to stop in weekly or so to say hi. And in order to start how I finished...goodbye goodbye! :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 it took me awhile...

but I'm here. I'm not writing where I should be...totally in class right now, but this is the class that I haven't yet discovered the point of, so I don't feel incredibly guilty! I know I have a lot to write about, and to be honest, it's a bit overwelming when I think about it, but here I go.

As I said, my last week of summer school was kinda out of control...but I made it through. And by the end of it, I had a ton of great teaching resources, including lesson plans and unit plans that I created. I think that these resources will really help during my first year in the classroom.
I am now in three classes, all of them "PC" master classes...meaning, I'm not sure any of them are really necessary (at least they haven't yet proved to be), but they look good on my credentials. Let's put it this way...the title of one of my classes is "Social Justice in Education." now come on...what do you think goes on in there besides a bunch of complaining???? HOWEVER, I have met some great people and I have fun during all of my classes...the fun may be nothing related to the class material, but it's fun regardless!
I've been very blessed to be surrounded by people who respect me and my opinions and I really feel like I am where I'm supposed to be. For those of you who haven't struggled with that, after not knowing what you were doing for an extended amount of time, it's a great relief!!! One of my instructors told me last night that she wished her son had a teacher like me. This woman has 2 PhD's, and she's not one to give away compliments, so I was incredibly touched.

Harry Potter Book Fair:
Well, it was almost 3 months ago, but I was the 75th person in the Hastings on Montano to get the 7th and last insallment of Harry Potter. I got it in the middle of my summer classes, so I had to lay it down until classes were over. Then once classes were over, it was time for officials clinic, coaches clinic, and athletic director's meeting. I FINALLY read the first page of the book on August 5th, after driving into Des Moines, Iowa, for my annual summer road trip.
Remember how I said that the necklace I wore to the movie premier was the most dressed up I would ever get? I lied...I took my coworker's 12 year old daughter and when I found out that she was going to be dressing up, I couldn't be left out...

The book was great! And that's all I'm really going to day because it has been awhile and I don't want to make any comments that aren't an key. I am going to reread the series when I'm done school, but for now I am happy to know that the series ends in a way I was happy with.

Carrissa and I took our annual summer road trip from August 4-18. We had a blast as usual and I'll give you a quick breakdown of the trip...

Day 1: Drive to Denver and have dinner with Rissa's dad and step mom...yummy...Nancy made us cherry pie! Then we watched a snow-mobiling video with Bob...that was fun!
Day 2: Drive to Des Moines. Bob and Nancy allowed is to borrow their radios so that Riss and I, could communicate with Laura and Annie in the other car. I was banned from the radio after a while because I'm told I talk about pointless things...why do we have radios if we're not going to use them? THEN...the same people who told me I was talking on the radio too much came on the radio and dared me to swallow a gobstopper whole...OK...done, now what? They didn't believe me, so they dared me to do it again while they drove by and watched. Never a dull moment!!! We packed food so that we didn't have to spend money on the way and had 2 nice breaks for food throughout the day. We got into Des Moines and relaxed at the hotel for the rest of the night.
Day 3: Riss and I started at the mall and then joined the family for a meal. This day was nice and easy...
Day 4: Amana baby! If you ever go to Iowa, you need to make it a point to travel to the Amana Colonies. Amana is a cluster of old German colonies that still function as small communities. There is a great wool mill, family dining, and a cellar winery ever 100 feet. It's great fun! on our way back, I decided that I knew the way to go, and although I was wrong...the locals in the car didn't feel like telling me so. So, not only did we go off the beaten path (which was actually a blast), but we were running out of gas at an alarming rate. We barely made it to a gas station in time, but we did, and the experience was totally memorable!
Day 5: State Fair day 1. The Iowa State Fair really is the greatest state fair in the country. I was so bummed that my ankle kept me from covering as much of the fair as I normally do, but it was still great to be at the fair. Every year the "butter lady" carves a lifesize cow out of butter as well as something that is relevant to the pop culture of the year. So of course, I saw a lifesized Harry Potter, his broom, chest, and the fat lady, all carved out of butter. Check out the preying mantis that jumped onto the car when we got back to the hotel...she's HUGE!

Day 6: The Fair again. I didn't spend much time at the Fair this day due to the heat and my ankle. Strangely enough, during the hour that I was there, I was spotted!
After getting back to the hotel that night, I hopped onto myspace and saw that I had a message. Gina had emailed me saying..."You have a twin and I saw her at the Iowa State Fair today. The resemblance was so strong I almost ran over and said hi." I couldn't believe it! I emailed her back and told her that I didn't have a twin and that I had been at the Fair that day.
Day 7: Gina called me early and we laughed about the strange circumstances of the day before. I told her that if she didn't mind me packing while we talked, she should bring Cassie to the hotel so that we could catch up. We ate breakfast together and enjoyed about an hour of catch up time before Riss and I had to get on the road.

Riss and I drove to the St. Louis (stopping for Dutch Letters in Pella on the way) and stayed at her family's for the evening.
Day 8: I met Rissa's grandfather this day, who is truly a one of a kind man. He is an expert on big band music and has an incredible library of music in his self made recording studio. He is 92 years old ( if I remember correctly) and needs a magnifying computer system to see anything. It was an honor and a special memory to meet him and I can't wait for the CD that he has promised to make me!!
Day 9: Riss and I added a leg to Pennsylvania to our trip this year and we decided to take a train out that direction. We had a connection in Chicago and then got on our train that would travel throughout the night. We had splurged for a sleeper car, were able to get a great upgrade, and were treated like queens for the evening. I had lamb for dinner! Yummy!
Day 10: Pennsylvania here we come! My uncle was over an hour late picking us up at the train station...not incredibly surprised...and then we made it to my grandparent's house. We enjoyed the evening with them and went to bed!
Day 11: We drove around the towns that I grew up in and around and visited some old friends. I tried to show Riss as much as I could, but by this time we were getting pretty tired of travelling and we were missing our animals A LOT!!!
I couldn't introduce Riss to my family without a game of Pit, so we played cards for a couple hours before going to bed.
Day 12: We visited a coal mine and went on a tour into the mine. My uncle and cousin joined us and it was a fun time. Riss and I then drove to Hershey and went through the free Hershey's chocolate tour. We were told that we were the millionth customers to park at the museum, but later found out that the parking attendants were just bored! No complaints...good story and free parking!

At this point we met up with my uncle and drove to the train station to get back on the tracks

We were SO ready to get off the train and get back home!
Day 13:
We arrived back in the St. Louis area and stayed this evening with Rissa's family again. I made the family individual cobblers to go with dinner and I think I'm golden with them forever!
Day 14:
We drove all the way home this day, stopping only for necessities and to do about a 30 minute shopping spree at Ulta...Love that place!
OK...DONE with the travelling.
I think I'll end this post here and write another one to include details about work, the reunion and my upcoming fun later! Thanks for bearing with me.
PS Shannon...see what you get when you ask for a post!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I promise I'll be back soon...

Hey all you bloggers! I promise that I will be back in commission sometime soon. Work and school are back in full swing, and everytime I think about writing, I end up with something else to do. I meant to catch you all up on the happenings this past weekend, but I had quite an extensive to do list that took precedence. I got almost everything on the list done though...I guess that's a positive thing! Here's a quick update for the time being...

Work: Still at the NMAA, and because schools are back in session we are back to being insanely busy. I've been working on getting as much done for the year as I can.

School: Taking 3 classes; Principles of Curriculum Development, Social Justice in Education, and Advanced Instructional Strategies. I'm having fun, although I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to be learning in one or two of these classes yet... I've met some great people who will continue through this program with me and we're having fun sticking it out together.

Reunion: I am having an absolute blast planning my 10 year reunion. There are about 5 people who are interested in lending a hand, and our first meeting will be next weekend. After that I should have a better vision of the fun to come!

Other: I'm planning a wedding for a friend/sister...the budget is $500. Talk about's going to be beautiful and quaint.

Everything else is pretty much the same, just busy busy busy as I try to keep it at all times! I am not going to give myself a deadline for writing more, because I'm afraid I may miss it, but I really do have a lot to write about that I hope to get done sooner than later!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Feel SO Bad...

I have to make this short so that I can get to work, but I am devastated. I ran over and killed someone's cat this morning on the way to work. I've hit wild animals before, but never an animal that had an emotional connection to a human, and visa versa.

If you're already rolling your eyes, you might as well skip this post, cause I'm only going to continue on this same thought pattern.

I think that if this had happened when I "didn't like cats," I would have felt horrible, but it wouldn't have affected me the same way. After I hit her though, I saw that she had a collar and I absolutely lost it. All I could imagine was someone sitting at home getting ready for work thinking that their cat had gone on their daily stalking adventures, who will never see their cat again. I'm tearing up again just thinking about it. Picturing Lucy out there...

I watched the poor thing go through convulsions before taking her last breath and I'm just glad she wasn't totally alone in the middle of the street. I called the city, but after 30 minutes, I had to just move her off the street myself and get to work. It ripped my heart out to just leave her on the side of the road. Her collar was just a flea collar, but I am hoping she was micro-chipped. I left clear instructions to please pass on my apologies, condolences, and even my phone number if the owner was contacted.

It was very interesting to watch people change as they drove by my car, parked half-way in the middle of the road to keep others from running over her. The area that I was in is known for being the home of some not so nice or law-abiding citizens. However, even those that were carreening around the corner, wondering why there was a sobbing woman in a black Jetta in their way, displayed expressions of sympathy, hurt, or empathy as they continued on their way. I even had a lady in a mini van, with literally 10 passengers, stop and console me, telling me it was allright and that "she was already in heaven". Very kind of her, and completely unneccesary, but appreciated.

If you haven't yet experienced this humbling and heartbreaking experience, I hope you never do. If you have, I hope that you had closure, cause that's all I'm hoping for. I just hope that the family is notified and knows that the "culprit" is incredibly sorry for their loss.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's been too long!

Hola amigos! I was just stopping by and realized that I haven't written in forever. I can't write much right now, but this is a promise of some fun posts to come. The last post I made came right before my insanely busy last week of summer classes, then I had a week of crazy work, and then I left for vacation...writing in my blog has not been in the forefront of my mind! is an idea of what I have to update you on...

1. My crazy finish to school
2. My time at the midnight book release for the 7th Harry Potter book
3. My review of the Harry Potter book (don't worry, I'm pretty careful about spoilers...but read carefully if you haven't yet read the book)
4. My vacation - including the incredibly coincidental sighting of "my twin" by Gina who didn't know I was actually in town.
5. And one other topic of which I am still awaiting news on from my that's as much as you get for now!

Hope your summers are going well...hope you are all staying cool and dry...and hope you enjoy the remainder of yet another summer that has flown by and is soon to be gone.

Friday, July 20, 2007

LAHS Class of '98 Reunion

Well, can't believe I signed up for this, but it should be fun. I have officially volunteered to plan my 10 year reunion. So, I'm asking for the help of any LAHS graduates who have friends from the class of '98. If you have any contact info, can you shoot it my way? Also, I know a couple of you have some experience planning reunions, so if you have any suggestions can you give me those also? Thanks so much guys!

Aside from that, I know I haven't written in a while, but I've been nose in the books for the past week. Classes are over next week, so I'll be back on the ball soon! Off to have a birthday dinner cooked for me by my marvelouse "sisters"! Then to the Harry Potter release times! See ya!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter

Here's my own review on the new Harry Potter movie.

First of all, I think it is important for you to know that for the 3rd movie in a row, I have gone to the first midnight showing. Totally worth it!! I got the closest to dressing up this year by wearing a Dumbledor's Army necklace...I think that's as far as my fanaticism will ever go! I have some sort of respect for those who show up in full costume just because of their willingness to make fools of themselves, but at the same time, they definitely scare me a bit!

Laura and Mindy were the first two in line (they got there at 5:00 PM). We were pretty surprised that the line was as short as it was until as late as it was. The last movies we saw at Century 24, the biggest theater in town. For the last movie we showed up at 3:00 and STILL weren't first in line (ok we were second, but still...). Also, in years past there have been long lines HOURS before the show started. This year, people didn't really start showing up until about 10:00. Weird, but I guess the theater had something to do with it.

So, we sat in line and made friends with the theater staff, ate dinner, played cards, did homework, played more cards and were finally let into the theater at 10:30ish. Laura started polling the fellow fans "Friend or Foe" (if you don't know what I'm talking about read the books) and found that all but 3 people say included. If you want my reasoning for this, I'll be happy to offer it at another time! Then we started playing Harry Potter trivia. I am not that good at recall, so I was amazed at the people and what they knew. Can anyone else name the four types of dragons in the Goblet of Fire tournament...without looking it up? Some of the fans there could! And what is Voldemort's mom's name...woah! As answers were shouted out, I remembered them, but the fact that people could recall something that was mentioned in maybe 1 Chapter of a 700 page book just baffled me.

We also received many lectures about the fact that cameras of any kind, including camera phones, would be confiscated if used in the theater. Technically they were supposed to confiscate them if they SAW them, but I guess they were realistic enough to know that that was a silly goal! Apparently, there are already bootleg copies of some movies that just came out last weekend circulating throughout the city. There is a $250,000 fine and 5 years in jail in the future of anyone taking pictures if someone decided to turn them in. And why would someone turn them in...$500 finder's fee. Honestly ridiculous. So, I misunderstood the whole "in the theater" thing. I thought that it meant in the actual seating area of the theater...oh no, ANYWHERE in the theater. The Movie Posters for upcoming movies are copyrighted also, so they are just as guarded as the movie themselves. Well, thank goodness the "officials" weren't around when I took a picture of the long line for the movie right before we were allowed into the theater...sorry, the seating area of the theater. Anyway, once we got in and were seated, there were flashes going off all over the place. The theater staff went crazy for a little while trying to confiscate all of the cameras until they decided that they didn't want to be liable for the cameras! LOL! Needless to say, the cops weren't called in on anyone.

Before the lights went down, a reporter came and talked to Laura and Mindy because they had been the first ones in line. Check it out at if you are interested. At first I was upset that she hadn't asked me about anything, but when I ended up with some stomach thing the next morning and couldn't go to class or work, I was fairly relieved. Something tells me that my being sick may have been questioned, legitimate as it was, had my instructors or boss seen me quoted about being at the theater until 3:00 in the morning!

Anyway, the movie started and we all groaned through the previews. They can be annoying when you HAVEN'T been waiting for 7 hours to watch the movie...need I say more! So as soon as the Harry Potter music started, applause began and quickly died down as we tuned into the much anticipated film.

Well, either we were so hyped up that nothing was going to please us, or the first 10 minutes of the movie were truly disappointing. The acting, the cinematography, the choppiness...everything just didn't feel right. Thankfully, it soon turned into the white knuckle movie that we expected. The comedic relief of Delores Umbridge, the crony sent to the school by the Ministry of Magic, was great. The fight scenes in the Ministry's Hall of Mysteries were wonderfully done, although the minimalistic coverage of the fate of Sirius was slightly disappointing.

Some say this movie was supposed to be the darkest yet, although I think I would argue that the Goblet of Fire still takes the cake in that aspect.

So, there's my review...can't wait till the 21st when the last book comes out!!! Well, off to class I go.

Wish me luck as I am attempting the bicycle for the first time in years tonight. I know..."it's like riding a bike," and I should have no problem, but I fear that I become less and less comfortable with adrenaline the older I get, so I'm hoping for no adrenaline triggers tonight! (I just read that back and I sound like a 72 year old, paranoid grandma...oh well, notice I didn't erase it!) Have a great night to you soon!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Update on the Fraud Situation

So...Here's the deal. I got a text this morning from Jessica stating that yes indeed, the two Monica Olivas' are the same woman...weird small world we live in huh? So that means nothing monumental except for the fact that I am not jaded against all women named Monica Olivas for the rest of my life! Since this turned out to be only one person and not two, I can just be jaded against her!

As soon as I got to work I covered my own butt by talking to two of my superiors and giving them a heads up about the situation. I just wanted them to know that if it ever came back to the NMAA, I had NEVER given permission for my address to be used. They both laughed incredulously at the situation and told me that I needn't worry.

OK, next I called APS, the school district, and made them aware of the situation. They looked up the kids, and the good news is they have never been listed at my address and they have been going to the school on the military base here in town (their dad is a vet). So, technically I should feel all better about the situation, but I don't!

Even though they never took that final step of registering outside of their zone, they still made legal changes to their address AFTER I had told them that I was unwilling to allow them to use my address. I just feel betrayed. And if they had been unable to get them into the school on base (apparently there were issues with this because of their parent's divorce), would they have still used my address? What astounds me is that as Jessica and I were making these odd connections, she stated that her boss had openly admitted that she had used someone else's address to get her kids into a different school zone (what's absolutely hilarious to me is that she was admitting this to a resident of that address and neither one had ANY idea!!!). Anyway, how dense can you be to advertise to the world that you have done something like this, let alone the fact that you're proud to be successfully fooling ME! ARGHHHH.

So, I think I am going to write a letter to my dear old co-worker letting her know that she didn't totally fool me, and that I am not happy to have had to deal with this. I'm also not happy that I had to figure it out the way that I did. And lastly, I'm REALLY not happy that she broke her word to me saying that she wouldn't use my address.

I called Sprint and they have taken my address off of the account, and put a note on the account as well. I have to run into a local Wells Fargo branch and make sure that everything is taken care of there. After that point, I can let this situation go, but I think we can safely say that I have learned yet another lesson about placing trust in the wrong people...but the question still do you know?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thanks Jim...

side note...(this post is specifically directed to a guy who left me a comment who I can't seem to comment back. Fair warning, it's all about the dreaded video game!)

Don't know who you are, but you gave me advice regarding beating Ursula. I was actually talking about the second form of Ursula which is a WHOLE lot harder than her and her cauldron, but thanks for the advice. By the time I read your comment I had beaten her and was back fighting tournaments in Olympus. Thanks again though!

Wow, I had quite a disappointing evening. Let me break this down for you...

For over a year I have been getting mail at my house for a Monica Olivas. I don't know a Monica Olivas. I have been getting her mail from both Wells Fargo and Sprint. Last year when this started, I called Wells Fargo and asked them to check on the account to verify that there hadn't been a mistake. They told me very plainly that there was nothing that they could do and refused to even look up the name and address.

I got more and more frustrated about the mail, but kept referring back to the fact that I was told that, due to customer confidentiality, there was NOTHING that they could do.

So, flash back to about a year and a half old co-worker of mine asked me if she could use my address so that her grandchildren could get into my school zone which is rated as superior to theirs. I told her very plainly that no, not only was I not comfortable with the dis-honesty of that, but that because of where I work, that could cause serious issues in the future. I trusted her promise that they would not pursue this address fraud.

So I know what you are thinking...duh Kristin, it took you over a year to figure out what was going on?? Well, keep in mind, I trusted my co-worker Louisa and didn't think that she would go against her word. I also did not know her daughter Monica, who had a different last name. I just thought that I was getting some random woman's mail.

Back to today...I get another piece of Wells Fargo mail for Monica Olivas AND one for Martin Olivas...this is new. Knowing that proof of residency is used for many security purposes, I decided I didn't care what I'd been told in the past by Wells Fargo and I called them again. After hearing what I had to say, the employee and his supervisor gave me permission to open the Olivas' Wells Fargo mail. Ironically enough, the items that I received today were confirmations of an address change. The new address seemed strangely familiar...I recognized the street as an old address of my best friend. So I called her and asked what her address had been. When she told me her old house number, it suddenly all came clear...Louisa lived down the street from her old house and the addresses fit perfectly.

Not wanting to believe what I was thinking I understood so clearly, I took a drive and verified that the address on the Wells Fargo letters was indeed that of Louisa's house. WOW!

And even stranger, as this is all falling into place, my roommate realizes that her boss' name just happens to be Monica Olivas. We are not 100% sure, but we're thinking we're not incorrect in naming these two as the same woman. We'll know more about that tomorrow when she does some investigating!

And what am I doing tomorrow? Talking to my boss about the fact that my address has been frauduently used for inequitable educational gain...pretty much the biggest thing our office stands for. After I cover this at work, I will talk to the school district and inform them that I feel that my address has been used without my knowledge to unfairly register students outside of their school zone. Hmmm...

I guess I'll let you know what happens!
Video Games...ahh the waste of good brain cells...

Yes, I know that I just posted, but if you hadn't noticed, I specifically spoke against my use of video games, so I figured I should separate the two topics further! Let me tell you how much time I spent playing video games this weekend...on second thought, I better not. Let's just say that I think I safely made up for my 6 month sabbatical from my PS2 in a matter of 3 days. Funny thing, for the first half of a day, all I did was complain about the game that I was playing. But I figured, I'll give it a little more time and maybe it'll grow on me. So what did that accomplish? Not sure it grew on me, but I am so determined to beat the stupid thing that I have latched on to it with a death grip! I am playing Kingdom Hearts which, for those of you who don't know, is an adultified game with the Disney characters!! Right now I am stuck trying to beat Ursula and man is she a tough one. I just want to give King Triton his trident said I think...I'm gonna go stick my head in an encyclopedia now and see if I can coax some of my brain cells to come out of hiding.
Social Responsibility and my Conscience... (my blog's not allowing me to add titles, so this is the best you get!)

My Social Studies class had an orientation at Roadrunner Food Bank today and then worked for about 2 hours. What a smack in the face...this warehouse is less than two minutes from my house and this is the first time that I have been there. How much effort did it take on my part to put in two hours today?? Not a whole heck of a lot. And how many people will benefit...THOUSANDS. Hello Kristin...maybe you can find something better to do with your free time than playing video games (see next post!). Don't get me wrong, I think free time is essential to one's sanity, but would sacrificing 2 or 3 hours of it a week be detrimental? I'm determined to find out. So help me all are my accountability partners. Next time you chat with me, or send me an email, or leave me a comment, will you throw something in there about how my community service is doing? It will keep me on the ball and hopefully help me to change my current pattern of spending all of my free time sitting on my gluteus maximus to one of productiveness!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Well, I think my intelligence level may be diminishing as I complete this assignment! I have just finished reading 17 children's books...15 of these are bonified picture books! Actually, some of them are great reads and I will definitely be storing their information for my future lesson planning. Now I have to review the books, and plan a lesson plan and then a unit plan around one or two of them. Funny thing, and somewhat unfamiliar, I'm not dreading the work that will go into this process.

I made a call to my mom on Thursday that I think affirmed to both of us that I am on the right track. I told her that I had had a revelation while in class that I really enjoyed what I was doing, and I am constantly looking forward to what's coming next. Yes, I've come far since HS, and I have grown immensely, but I have FINALLY found myself knowing that I am doing what I should be doing. Now, does that mean it won't change, no...what if something were to come of this American Idol thing? I have to continue to take it a day at a time, enjoy every moment of it, and most importantly, keep trusting that God is leading me by the hand to a finale only He knows the plot of!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Here's the glowing one ;)

Well, I feel much better now! I just finished helping my mom catch up with the times by getting her set up with online bill pay. Then I planned a wedding in an hour...hmmm, never said that before!
Megan, one of my three psuedo-sisters, is getting married in September. She and her fiance are on a tight budget, but after tonight, I am confidant that we are going to end up with a beautiful day/evening for a small price tag! She will make a dashing bride (imagine Snow White) and the sunset ceremony will only enhance her beauty. There will only be about 8 people in attendance (family only), the Maid of Honor, Best Man, Officiant, and the happy couple. Lavender, Sage, and Yellow. OK, I guess I do miss this wedding planning thing a little bit! It's nice that I'm not doing it for pay anymore, so that I can make the decision to do a wedding for free. That used to be a tough call...looked bad to other clients.
Well, it's off to bed for me. Happy fourth everybody!

Serious doubts about our children's education...

So I am sure that this is no new phenomenon, but as an individual who is attending classes with the future educators of New Mexico and beyond...I think I'll homeschool! Actually, I think that public school is an important part of social development, but I have serious doubts about the capabilities of some of my classmates.

Today we broke into groups in our Social Studies class. To model the strategy that she was teaching, our instructor assigned each member of the group a role; discussion leader, recorder, reader 1, reader 2, timekeeper and supply chair. My group turned into a democracy...our dicussion leader took her role a bit too seriously and wouldn't give anyone an opportunity to discuss! All I could think of was her poor future students not being able to get a word in edgewise. This is just one example, and a very mild one at that. Don't get me started with the kind of writing skills, grammar skills, math skills, etc. that I am seeing. I certainly don't consider myself as expert in any of these areas who never makes a mistake, but my test scores were in the top 95th percentile. This is not self praise, but what I think should be a standard for those wanting to teach these skills to the youth of our communities.

Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing people in this program, but I don't see much of a margin of error in this field. We don't figure in a margin of error in the medical field, yet it is somehow ok to graduate mediocre educators? I see something wrong with that.

Wow, apparently the combination of my schedule and the heat has put me in quite the cynical mood...I'll be back in a bit with something glowing to say...I promise.

Monday, July 2, 2007

More punishment...

So I just finished my second class, and although it is not near as labor intensive as Social Studies is going to be, let's just say this blog may be the only way anyone will know I am alive for the coming month! 2 more lesson plans, 2 book reviews, one group project, an assessment with a child, and an individual oral presentation. Again...four weeks people...I guess this is what Masters is all about!

Glutton for punishment

Well, I started my second set of summer classes today and I think I'm nuts. Here's my schedule for July...
Monday -Thursday
8:00-10:30 AM - Teaching Social Studies in the classroom
11:00-3:30 PM - Work
4:00-6:30 - Teaching Reading and Literacy in the classroom

OK, so it may not look THAT bad, but you haven't seen the syllabus for my Social Studies class...
5 Journal Entries
1 Lesson Plan
2 Unit Plans
10 Book reviews
10 Website reviews
and I think I'm missing 2 things

Keep in mind this in only a four week class! Oh I won't have a social life for July...I've dealt with worse!

I head to my Reading and Literacy class in about an hour...let's just hope that I don't see the same kind of work load...

Let's just say that I had a hard time justifying the fact that I played my PS2 for hours yesterday until I went to class this morning. My videogame saga was some well deserved respite prior to beginning these classes!

By the way...Lisa, is your fault that all of you now have to suffer through the day to day goings on of Kristin...if only I had no idea what a blog was...

Friday, June 29, 2007

American Idol, here I come...

Well, she said she'd do it. For years, my mom has been saying, if I'll go, she'll pay. So, it's official, I will be auditioning for American Idol in Philadelphia on August 27th. And, my brother will be singing to the opposite side of the country on July 30th when he auditions in San Diego.

Whether she's living vicariously through us, or just an incredibly proud mama, I don't know, but we are ready to oblige!

So wish us luck, and I'll let you know what happens! :)

Ahhh...dry air in the desert

Well, I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen, but I have refrigerated air!!! Some may wonder what other kind there is, so bear with me for a moment.

Swamp coolers were a wonderful invention for areas with dry climates. By pulling outside air through wet filters, it blows cool air into the house. This is great as long as there is no existing moisture in the air being pulled through. Swamp coolers are used by many houses in the SW, but in Albuquerque, our hottest month of the year happens to be the month of our monsoons. Need I say more???

So about 2 months ago, I started researching the cost of swamp cooler-refrigerated air conversion. I almost passed out when I got my first quote. Would you believe that the 4 quotes I got covered an $8,000 span????? We went with Roto Rooter and have been very pleased...I think Steve from Roto Rooter considers me a close family member for as many times as we have spoken throughout this process! So, sounds simple right? Ha!

Steve came out, gave me a quote, and we hired him. He came out to do the service, and found that my house was built with only 50 units of electricity...the average house runs on 100. As a side note, this may explain why I can't run my dishwasher while making a pot of coffee!! So, he tells me that we have to start with PNM to see about adding another 50 units to my house. OK, so what's so bad about that?? 1. PNM has a normal response time of 3 weeks. 2. If all the units in the transformer are being used, we have to purchase a new transformer (avg $7,000). Once we purchase this transformer, everyone else in the neighborhood can use it for free in the future. Arghhhh...

Well, Steve pulled through and put our issue in PNM's emergency inbox, thanks to a connection he has "on the inside"! Who would have thought that I would be as anxious to hear back from PNM as I was to hear about being accepted into my Master's program...ok, that may be stretching it, but you get the idea. Finally, we get the word...we are good to go with the original transformer!

So, the next step...get the electrician out here. "I'm sorry ma'am, we're booked for 2 weeks." OK, breathe Kristin..."How about the 26th?". The electricians show up, tear apart my laundry room (and don't put it back the way they found it...I'm down a cabinet until I install a new one), and put a brand new silver box on the outside of my house.

Steve came by this morning (after the electricians, who I made come back to clean up their mess) and hooked everything up. So, the verdict...

It was totally worth the wait, and finished in perfect time...monsoons start next week, and we're supposed to hit record heat too.

So, I'm gonna lay back and sip some iced tea with my feet up and that guy from my class fanning me with palm leaves, and...oh wait, I have a paper to write. Well, atleast I'll be comfortable!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Oh let's give it a try

Never thought I'd do the blog thing...and we'll see if I keep it up at all! Life is busy as normal, but we all know that's how I like it. Since I can't give you updates on kids, here's updates on my "kiddos"... :)

Sprite - the original
Sprite is great, and has just turned 9 years old...can't believe it. He is still grumpy, but Caspian and Lucy keep him going! He has an anxiety issue that shows its head during storms, fireworks, and social gatherings. Besides that, he's still a mama's boy and is a joy to have around!

Caspian - the slob
Caspian is the boss of the house, just don't tell Sprite that! He's always getting into trouble and making messes. He also thinks that he's the keeper of mom's lap. He is the glue that holds the other two together.

Lucy - the princess
Lucy is a priss who loves to rule the roost. She and Sprite are hilarious together, as their idea of playing is chasing eacother around the house, pretending that they hate eachother! She is bringing in new prey on a daily basis...a huntress to the max! Occasionally, she acts like the dogs when she thinks no one's watching...namely when rolling around in piles of dirt outside!

I'm in the middle of my Masters program and I am loving it!!! Work is good good, but I am ready to move on to the next part of my journey! Hope you are all doing well...keep in touch.